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Natasha Pulley: The Half Life of Valery K
Celebrate the release of The Half Life of Valery K as we chat with author Natasha Pulley!
The Half Life of Valery K
From the author of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street and The Kingdoms, an epic Cold War novel set in a mysterious town in Soviet Russia.
In 1963, in a Siberian prison, former nuclear specialist Valery Kolkhanov has mastered what it takes to survive: the right connections to the guards for access to food and cigarettes, the right pair of warm boots, and the right attitude toward the small pleasures of life so he won't go insane. But one day, all that changes: Valery's university mentor steps in and sweeps him from the frozen camp to a mysterious unnamed city. It houses a set of nuclear reactors, and surrounding it is a forest so damaged it looks like the trees have rusted from within.
In City 40, Valery is Dr. Kolkhanov once more, and he's expected to serve out his prison term studying the effect of radiation on local animals. But as Valery begins his work, he is struck by the questions his research raises. Why is there so much radiation in this area? What, exactly, is being hidden from the thousands who live in the town? And if he keeps looking for answers, will he live to serve out his sentence?
Based on real events in a surreal Soviet city, and told with bestselling author Natasha Pulley's inimitable style, The Half Life of Valery K is a sweeping new adventure for readers of Stuart Turton and Sarah Gailey.
Natasha Pulley's first novel The Watchmaker of Filigree Street was a Sunday Times bestseller, won a Betty Trask Award and was shortlisted for the Authors' Club Best First Novel Award. Her second novel, The Bedlam Stacks was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature's Encore Award and longlisted for the Walter Scott Prize while The Lost Future of Pepperharrow was published in 2020 to widespread critical acclaim, cementing her reputation as one of the most original and exciting writers at work. She lives in Bristol.